“Who Would the Citizens of a Hypothetical Catalan State Be? A Democratic, Nationalist and Liberal Proposal on Citizenship”, by Pau Bossacoma
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The purpose of this reflection is to analyse who might be the citizens of a hypothetical Catalan State resulting from a democratic, unilateral, peaceful secession within a context that ensures respect of the fundamental rights of individuals. This reflection basically has two intentions: one more explanatory and the other more propositional. Regarding the first, it will explore a range of controversial issues related to international law on the succession of States in matters of citizenship. This exploration should enable us to delimit the legal power of the new Catalan State in terms of the attribution and maintenance of citizenship. Even though it is common to believe that the competence of the State to attribute and maintain citizenship is exclusive and eminently absolute, it will be shown that international law is not sitting idly. Specifically, in terms of State succession, the principle of effective citizenship and the obligation to avoid statelessness are postulated as limits in opposite directions of that State domestic jurisdiction. The second intention of this reflection is to offer a democratic, nationalist and liberal proposal on the acquisition of citizenship in a hypothetical Catalan State. The proposal will be democratic because it will connect the right to acquire Catalan citizenship with those persons who had the right to participate and vote in the democratic decision on secession (including the referendum on secession and/or the latest Parliament of Catalonia elections leading to secession). It will be a nationalist and liberal proposal because it will draw inspiration from the doctrinal corpus of liberal nationalism. The proposal will be framed within the existence of a Catalan nation prior to the Catalan State. Therefore, the State will not create the nation but will allow it to properly flourish. Liberalism will frame the limits of Catalan nationalism and require it to be open, plural, inclusive, tolerant and permeable.